NUMBER 10 has rejected reports Boris Johnson missed emergency coronavirus meetings so he could fund divorce proceedings by penning a Shakespeare biography.

However, the Prime Minister's official spokesperson did not categorically deny that the Tory leader has worked on the book since he took office in July 2019.

Johnson did not chair the first five meetings of the Cobra emergency committee in January and February 2020, but Downing Street insisted this was not unusual and was nothing to do with any book.

No 10 faced questions after a Sunday Times report suggested officials fear Dominic Cummings will use an appearance before MPs to accuse the Prime Minister of skipping key meetings on the crisis to work on a biography of Shakespeare, because he needed the money to fund his divorce from Marina Wheeler, his second wife.

The book is due to be published in March 2022, according to its listing on Amazon. 

READ MORE: Boris Johnson 'missed key Covid meetings to work on Shakespeare book'

Asked if the Tory leader had spent time on the book since July 2019, his official spokesman said: "No, not that I'm aware of."

The Prime Minister has been "ensuring the public are kept as protected as possible during this global pandemic", the spokesman added.

In response to the suggestion the book was responsible for him missing Cobra meetings, the spokesman said: "No, and I think there are a number of incidents I can run you through where Cobras have been chaired by relevant secretaries of state."

Cummings, who was the Prime Minister's senior aide in No 10 until last year, will give evidence to MPs examining the coronavirus response on Wednesday.

Ahead of his appearance, he has set out his criticisms of the Government's approach in a series of messages on Twitter, claiming the original response to the coronavirus outbreak was to pursue a strategy of "herd immunity".

In a series of explosive tweets, he said the policy was only dropped in March last year after a warning it would lead to a "catastrophe".

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon and Boris Johnson to meet this week at Covid recovery conference

The Prime Minister's official spokesperson told reporters: "Herd immunity from infection has never been government policy."

The spokesperson added: "At all times we have been guided by the data and the latest evidence we have had through this coronavirus pandemic.

"We set out our initial plan, which was published on March 3 and presented at press conferences.

"As our understanding of the virus progressed, more data became available, it was clear that a national lockdown was needed to suppress the curve, save lives and protect the NHS from being overwhelmed."

Asked if Johnson believed Cummings was a liar, the spokesperson said: "I haven't asked him that question."